If you’ve been freelancing for several years, you may be pretty comfortable by now.
You’ve got an established client base–folks who come to you regularly when they need something done. You know and like them and they know and like you. Plus, you’ve found your ideal niche and as a bonus, you’re really good at it. The niche work that you do is just challenging enough to hold your interest without shaking you up too much.
All in all, after several years of struggling things are getting pretty comfortable in your neck of the freelancing universe. Things are so comfortable, in fact, that you feel like you can relax and take things easy–but should you?
I say “no.” It’s good for everyone, and especially freelancers, to move out of your comfort zone from time to time. Tackle something new. Step outside of the comfortable freelancing cocoon you’ve wrapped around yourself. You can even (gasp!) take the chance that you might fail at something you try.
Here are three reasons why you must move out of your comfort zone.
Reason 1: You’ll Never Know Unless You Try
Throughout history, the greatest discoveries were made by those who stepped out of their comfort zone. Time and time again, the successful people are those who are willing to take chances and try new things.
If you’re a freelancer, you’ve probably already done this at least once. At some point, you bypassed the comfortable, expected path of employment to create your own freelancing business. So, you know exactly what I’m talking about. What would your life be like now if you had never taken a chance on freelancing?
Odds are that there’s something right now that is staring you in the face that you should take a chance on.
- It may be learning a new design tool–you know you should give it a try, but you are really comfortable with what you already know.
- It may be that you need to engage in some face-to-face networking to build your client base, but the very idea makes you nervous.
- Or, maybe you need to bring someone else on board, a partner or a subcontractor, in order to build your business.
Whatever it is that you’re facing, it’s an opportunity for growth.
Reason 2: Growth Can Be Uncomfortable
Of course, growth is often uncomfortable. This is just as true of business growth as it is of personal growth.
First of all, there’s the extra time that you are likely to have to put in to learn something new. Whether it’s launching an information product or learning a new skill, growth requires a time commitment.
Next, there’s fear. Let’s face it. A lot of new opportunities are scary at first. For me, leaving a comfortable job was scary when I started out, but now I can’t imagine earning a living any other way than through freelancing.
Finally, there’s the risk that you might actually fail. Not all chances that you take will work out. But, failure is not always a negative.
Growth may be uncomfortable, but it is desirable. We strive to grow as individuals and we strive to grow our businesses.
Reason 3: We Learn the Most from our Failures
Failure is not always a negative because we learn the most when we fail. In fact, the seeds of success are often found in failure.
Think about it. If you’re sitting there comfortably, not taking risks, are you really learning much? Probably not.
If you fail, however, you can at least learn one of two things:
- This is not for you. You disliked it. You gave it try, but yuck, you’d never do it again.
- This is for you. You failed, but you see where you made your mistakes and next time you’ll do it better.
How I Learned by Taking Chances
My own freelancing career has been filled with stepping out of my comfort zone.
I started small, working mainly with leads from contacts as well as finding the occasional position through bidding sites and job ads. This worked for me for quite a while. In fact, I could have easily stayed there–not growing my business and staying with what I knew.
Instead, I took a risk and started to build an online presence. I participated in forums. I created a blog. I even took a chance and accepted a few paid blogging positions. Could I earn anything substantial through blogging? I didn’t know for sure.
Not too long ago, I took yet another risk and added coaching to my list of services. Was I comfortable about it? No, quite frankly I was very nervous. But from both a business and personal perspective, I knew it was something that I needed to try.
Does my freelancing future hold more moves outside of my comfort zone? You bet!
Is it time for you to move out of your comfort zone?
Share how you plan to do that.
Have you already moved out of your comfort zone?
Share your story.
Image by Lynda W1